The manhunt for Parsa came to a gripping conclusion in NCIS Season 11 Episode 14, the final installment before the CBS' series February hiatus.
With a new episode on tap tonight, our Round Table panelists Doug Wolfe and Christine Orlando look back on "Monsters and Men" and look ahead.
Gather around below and find out in TV Fanatic's Q&A discussion!
1. How would you sum up the episode in one sentence?
Doug: Takedown of a Monster.
Christine: It is not events that define us but how we respond to them.
2. What was your favorite scene or quote?
Doug: I really enjoyed the brotherly discussion between McGee and Tony regarding Delilah. The subject matter - whether to bring Delilah up to date on the hunt for Parsa - was flimsy, but the camaraderie between them was not.
Christine: I liked Parsa and Bishop face to face in that room. Despite all of the horrors he's inflicted, it all came down to a young man who lost his parents and he responded to that tragedy by becoming a monster. I liked that Bishop called him on that.
3. Is there a scene - other than your favorite - which provoked an unexpected thought or emotion?
Doug: I was honestly taken aback by the portrayal of the live action Seals sequence, as they entered Parsa's compound. It was hard not to fear for them, especially given Parsa's nonchalance about killing. What if he'd prepared for such an event and booby-trapped them? That scene put me on the edge of my seat.
Christine: Actually I almost choked on my popcorn at Tony and McGee's exchange... Tony: "Having flashbacks to my childhood. Reminds me of Sunday dinners with dad. Stepmoms two and four." McGee: "What should we do?" Tony: "Same thing I did as a kid. Keep your head down, wait to be excused, you go to your room and play with yourself."
4. Gibbs said he couldn't work with someone he couldn't trust. Bishop withheld information on Parsa because it "wasn't relevant to the current situation." Bishop is now a probie with NCIS. Are you satisfied with the resolution of this apparent dichotomy? Why or why not?
Doug: No, not really. The fact that she proved herself later doesn't negate the fact that she withheld information from her boss. Not only that, she'd been in trouble with her previous boss for the same problem. I get that she's intense and focused and has her own mind on things. But... we're not seeing enough of an evolution, or of growth here. So we have to believe that somehow Gibbs is now okay with her and trusts her. His initial reaction about not being able to work with someone he can't trust seemed real. The absence of that tension later on does not. I would expect that, after saving her from Parsa (in real life) he would have sent her back to the NSA.
Christine: I don't believe she was intentionally being deceitful as much as holding back to protect herself. Gibbs has made enough of his own missteps to be able to detect someone who is willing to learn from them and he's always seen something unique in Bishop.
5. If you were a director of NCIS and had a tightly-knit team like this one, would you hire someone like Bishop? Why or why not?
Doug: Absent the trust factor that came to light, yes I would hire her. As a supervisor (at my day job), I'm keen to hire people who have strong minds and take the initiative to accomplish our overall goals. I especially see the need for people who aren't "yes-men": folk who don't mind speaking up when they think their boss might be wrong. There is high value in those types - and oddly enough, they're the hardest to hold onto, because they tend to advance quickly. People like Bishop tend to bring a positive change to the group dynamic. Bosses (those who aren't working on self-esteem issues) tend to appreciate that. It challenges the status quo. We only worry about negative team fallout, and watch everyone closely to make sure that doesn't happen. As long as everyone knows that at the end of the day, the boss has the final say, and are willing to live with that - as Bishop does, once the dust has settled - they're okay in my book.
Christine: Teams, much like families change and grow over time. Ziva is gone and this team needs to develop and grow without her. I think Bishop has a set of skills that definitely adds to the team and I think she fits in well. I'm also really enjoying the big brother/little sister vibe that's between her and Tony and McGee. It's kind of sweet and useful given that she's a probie, without being condescending.
6. On the basis of this episode, what are your thoughts on Tony's character development?
Doug: In every scene with Tony, we're seeing a true leader emerge. His discussion with Bishop in the washroom was dead-on: informative and wise. He knows Gibbs well and proved it with his advice to Bishop. Plus, he knew what she needed to hear, and he gently steered her the right direction. His supportive approach to McGee was the same: wise without being condescending. I really liked the fact that he used his own peculiar appreciation of movies to make his point. Honestly, this is a guy you want heading up your team.
Christine: I'm enjoying Tony more than I have in several seasons and as much as I liked Ziva, I find myself liking the team's new dynamic and how Tony has grown because of it. He's turned into more of a leader without losing any of his unique humor and without turning into Gibbs. I've got my fingers crossed we get to see a bit more of his personal life before the end of the season. I definitely want to see more Tony!
Douglas Wolfe was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in 2016. Follow him on Twitter.